Evening settles to a blackgreen.calm A flock of white birds wheel over a field. Seagulls can’t be this far inland. Perhaps a migratory flock. Tripping in from who knows where, on an annual NRI ritual. A mango tree, splendid and majestic in the space it has to grow, reaches skywards. Intertwined branches lining the road form a filigreed canopy overhead. Palms stand tall, sharp profiled- origami craft. Past the chattering picnic area, the lane ambles and dips, meanders past the temple to the gaondevi on a densely wooded hill; “next time, we’ll pray-we live under her jurisdiction by the pincode, don’t we?” Even if sprawling residential complexes and glass chrome sharp-angled office buildings have replaced village clusters that once belonged to farmers and fishermen. In a few minutes the black green hill is outlined, shining sci-fi like, all glowing orange red by the setting sun. The undergrowth springs alive with the hum of umpteen insects. In the distance, the ratatat of a pump is interspersed by a birdcall or two, and with the sudden nip in the air one recalls strange tales of leopard sightings. A few miles beyond as the crow flies, cars zip by on the expressway, past flyovers, billboards and shiny malls.